For construction work, a jigsaw doesn’t make the cut as part of the core team of tools. In woodworking, however, it’s a must-have part of your arsenal. Ryobi did a good job with their P523 jigsaw a few years ago and their new brushless tools spec out awfully close to some of the best Pro models out there. So what should you make of the new Ryobi 18V One+ Brushless Jigsaw?
- Pro-style feature set
- Pro-level cutting speed at 3500 SPM
- Brushless motor
- Tool-free blade changes and bevel adjustments
- Lock-on button
- Not as price-friendly for DIYers as brushed models
The Ryobi P524 closes the gap even more between DIY and Pro performance. This is going to be an excellent choice for serious DIYers, Prosumers, and the occasional use contractor.
The feature set looks a lot like what you see from brands like DeWalt. On the surface, the only thing missing from its Ridgid and Milwaukee cousins is a dust collection port and attachment.
- Brushless motor
- Lock-on trigger with variable speed dial
- Four cutting modes – three orbital settings and off
- Spring-loaded, tool-free blade change
- Tool-free bevel base adjustment to 45° left or right
- No-mar base cover with blade storage
There are some differences, though. Like Ridgid, there’s a lock on button that’s great for long cuts. It also trades a numbered speed dial for a slider that doesn’t give you the repeatable precision you might like.
I’ve been itching to try my hand at a saddle jig for tenoning, half laps, and general material-holding uses. Making stuff that makes other stuff is part of the attraction of woodworking (although I won’t attempt to build my own jigsaw from scratch).
There’s an amazing display of creativity and skill in this regard on Instagram and Pinterest. From there came the inspiration for my Ryobi 18V One+ Brushless Jigsaw’s first project: a push handle for my saddle jig. I printed out a simple 2-D template, traced it onto a board, and let the Ryobi rip (I eased the edges with a rotary sanding attachment in my drill).
The saw is no slouch in the power department and matches the newest cordless models with 3500 SPM. It handily chewed up wood as I guided it along the line – illuminated quite well by the work light.
An orbital action dial takes the saw from 0 (low orbital action) through 3 (highest orbital action). The Ryobi 18V One+ Brushless Jigsaw is most aggressive in Mode 3, moving rapidly through the material. That leaves behind the roughest cut, but if that’s all you need, it works beautifully. I started to grab it for quick crosscuts instead of my circular saw.
Mode 0 leaves behind the smoothest cut, but it slows the cut’s pace. In the photo below, you can see I began with the highest orbital action and halfway through turned off the orbital action.
All The Variables
The trigger is not variable speed like some of the Ryobi’s competitors, but the throttle on top of the handle creates a variable speed saw.
It’s easy to acclimate to the design as using your thumb to adjust it (and easy to lock the saw on with the nearby button). For most wood cutting, I really don’t do that much adjusting.
I dialed the saw back to about 75% of wide open so it wouldn’t get ahead of me and sped up on the fly a bit a bit in the curves. When I turn it back to about 50% or lower, it has a tendency to jump with an aggressive blade. These slower speeds are what you’ll want to use for metal and harder materials where you need a low SPM and are using a higher tooth count.
For long cuts against a straight edge, I found the blade likes to wander no matter which side I’m cutting on. Most of the time, you’re going to turn to a circular saw for this kind of cut, but there are times when you’ll turn to your jigsaw. Most of the blame here falls on the blade – once it starts to deflect, it’s not going to turn back into the straightedge easily. Your best bet here is to slow down and cut freehand with a close eye on your cutline.
Take It To Another Bevel
Adjusting the base is simple: flip out the grey base lock lever, gently slide the base, move it to your desired detent, and then reverse the process. You can bevel at 45 degrees to the right and the left, but the blade might just slightly come in contact with the base’s no-mar pad during the cut.
Price & Value
The $119 Ryobi 18V One+ Brushless Jigsaw ranks high on the value scale like most of the company’s tools. Its cousins, the Ridgid R8831B and Milwaukee 2645-20 (also brushless), come in slightly higher at $129 and $125 respectively. DeWalt’s brushless DCS334B is a bit higher at $179.
It’s interesting to see Ryobi creeping up toward those Pro-level prices. With Ryobi sitting solidly in the Prosumer market between DIY and Pro for so long, their brushless tools are pushing into the entry-level Pro market in terms of their performance and features, so it’s not a surprise to see less of a gap to the Pro models.
The Bottom Line
Like their other brushless tools, the Ryobi 18V One+ Brushless Jigsaw pushes their users even closer to the Pro level. This is an excellent option for serious DIYers and Prosumers. Contractors and other Pros that only have occasional jigsaw needs might want to look in this direction as well.
Ryobi 18V One+ Brushless Jigsaw Specifications
- Item Number: P524
- SPM: Up to 3,500 (no load speed)
- Cutting Angle: 0 to 45 degrees both right and left
- Weight: 4 pounds
- Stroke Length: 1-inch
- Price: $105.70